In today’s always-connected world, it seems as if we’re all constantly being bombarded with information. It’s one of the reasons clients have been telling us that their leaders need to build their nimble thinking skills. Living in an age of smartphones, social media and overflowing email inboxes means that having the ability to manage our thinking so we can focus with intention, even if only for a few minutes at a time, is critical.
We know that more and more of us are engaging in “hyper-thinking.” And we know that multi-tasking doesn’t work. New research and discussions pop up every day (naturally!) showing how our brains are being affected by this data deluge.
A recent article by Tim Harford of the Financial Times makes a compelling point that this proliferation of knowledge is getting in the way of our thinking to such a degree that we may never see another Leonardo da Vinci. According to Harford, today’s thinkers have the brainpower but not the bandwidth to process so much information and see the big picture.
As this post on the MarketingProfs website explains:
With so much knowledge available, and more produced every day, Harford questions whether there will ever be another person with the ability to learn, understand, and then forge the necessary connections to produce new insights. In short, he claims there will never be another Leonardo, not because the individuals alive today are sans the requisite brainpower, but instead because there just aren’t enough hours in the day to acquire the knowledge necessary to make significant—i.e. non-incremental—contributions.
What’s your take? Is Harford overreacting? Can we take steps to refocus our thinking to avoid this?
And how is information overload affecting you? Are you using the Whole Brain® Model to help manage the data deluge? Share your comments below.
If social networking is taking too much of your attention, check out the post Managing Your Attention Makes Social Networking More Manageable for a free downloadable article that discusses how you can put what we know about the brain and thinking styles to work to better manage your attention.